I loved the original Portal. For the uninitiated, Portal is somewhat of a First Person Puzzle game. You play as Chell, a prisoner / test subject, tasked with solving puzzles using a portal gun, which is pretty much what it sounds like. The end result was a great puzzle game and also hilariously funny. If you’ve ever heard someone say “The cake is a lie”, it’s because of Portal.
Portal 2 had a lot to live up to. The first game was beloved by critics and gamers alike. It was original, fun, and extremely well-written. And how is Portal 2? Better in almost every possible way.
From the very first scene, this game establishes that it’s even funnier than the original. They introduce Wheatley, a somewhat dumber than expected AI, voiced by Stephen Merchant (probably best known for the UK version of The Office). Every single thing that Wheatley says is hilarious. My play-time was extended by hours, just because I would stand around and wait for Wheatley to finish talking, because I didn’t want to miss a thing he said. Who’d ever thought you could have fun in a video game just by standing around?
Answer: Whoever designed the elevators in Mass Effect. They were wrong.
The game is much longer than the original, but is able to keep throwing new mechanics and ideas at you throughout the entire game. It always feels fresh and the time just flies by.
This game also introduces 2-player co-op to the Portal universe. The co-op gameplay is even better than the single player. The puzzles in 2 player are devious and require some serious thinking while the puzzles in single player are fun, but not nearly as tricky.
The only inherent problem with this game is the way it screws with your perception of real-life. You start thinking with portals all the time, leading to inner monologues like “Damn… I don’t want to walk up the stairs. Well I can put a portal on the wall up there, and one down here and… wait.. shit… portals aren’t really a thing.” Seriously… I had that same line of thinking dozens of times after playing this game. It gets in your head.
Final Verdict: This is a great game and the best I’ve played all year. You’ll never look a blank wall the same way. Or potatoes. Or lemons. God-damn lemons.
You’ll understand once you play the game.